Critical Linking: The Most Read Stories April 7-13, 2013

Here are the most-read stories from the last week in Critical Linking….

 

When it comes to book recommendations, retailers have the literary sensibilities of a spreadsheet — they’ll just recommend the most popular books to me, or books that other people also bought, but they know nothing of the soul and sparkle of a great book. I hope this changes over time.

“The soul of a spreadsheet.” That is too good.

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Sam Tanenhaus is stepping down as New York Times Book Review editor to become writer at large. Children’s book editor Pamela Paul replaces him.

Could this move be VIDA-related?

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In fact, I’m thinking about starting a women’s prize here in the United States, to be given out once a year, every year, until gender parity in the arts is achieved.

There are many problems about how women are treated everywhere in American culture, but does a dedicated book prize do much? Consider this: exactly half of the last 20 National Book Awards for fiction have gone to women.

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Books aren’t a central part of our culture any more – literature is a bit second tier. There’s plenty of coverage of films, music, TV and video games. It’s rare that you have a water cooler moment regarding a book.

The books that do inspire those moments are rarely worth them. Or have we forgotten Fifty Shades of Grey?

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